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Jo March has been growing his hair long.

The barber promised him his hair would be quite manageable in a curly crop, and it has been: he and Teddy look like brothers from the neck up now, and it is almost as satisfying to hear Aunt March grumble about the cut as it is to walk about without the dead weight of hair bearing on the nape of his neck. It is only a matter of weeks since he came home nakedly terrified and twenty-five dollars richer, and already he feels as though Josephine March is simply a character in a play, approaching her fifth act, which will have to end in a tragic death (for all the best plays have both deaths and happy endings, and Jo plans to be the center of both).

But running off to India or the war or anywhere else costs some money, perhaps a good deal of it. More expensive are all the dollars he will have to leave behind, to assuage his guilt at running away from the home he loves so dearly, and the responsibilities he knows are his. Until Father is home, he is the man of the house, and Beth is still so pale; Jo must provide for them all, must have the certainty that they will be safe and well without his stories to feed them. (Perhaps he will bring Beth with, he imagines, and see to her good health himself.)

And when he has that, perhaps his hair will be the fashionable colour again, and too thick to resist; perhaps he will be able to spin a desperate story and convince another barber to take pity on him; perhaps he can sell the one beauty he never wanted and buy all the ones he has.

Jo March has been growing his hair long.